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The Rise and Fall of NFT Art

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“The auction room, as anyone knows, is an excellent medium for sustaining fictional price levels, because the public imagines that auction prices are necessarily real prices.”—Robert Hughes, 1984, The New York Review of Books

On March 11, 2021, Mike Winkelmann, a digital artist who goes by the online name, Beeple, auctioned off a digital work of art at Christie’s, one of the largest fine-art auction houses in the fine-art world. The title of the work was called, “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” which was a collage of computer illustrations.

It sold for a staggering $69 million.

Why so much money? It’s a good question that’s difficult to answer. Aesthetically and visually speaking, Beeple’s work isn’t very original or interesting. New York magazine’s art critic, Jerry Saltz tweeted about the work, as well, “I looked up Beeple; just really really derivative Sci-Fi and Conan and Star Wars crapola as far as imagery and imagination go.” That’s not really a vote of confidence. It’s also not that Beeple’s work was the first digital work of art ever made….

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